(919) 404-9327 sales@lizardwebs.net

liz5

Anyone who follows the Lizardwebs blog (or sees these posts on any of the social pages that my posts appear on) knows that I am all about some Google rankings. One of the absolute MOST difficult things to do is to get any sort of grip on Google’s local listings. At times, it seems childishly simple – you put up a Google+ page and a couple of days later – BOOM. You’re there.

In other cases, you put the stuff up and… and… and… Nothing. Organic is just not really nearly the issue that Google local is. So, I ran my weekly rankings report on Lizardwebs and lo and behold, I appear on the “Computer repair raleigh” search. I’ve normally been hovering around the top of page 2 now for a while – occasionally bouncing on page 1 and then back. I think, unfortunately, the biggest problem that I have is over-optimized URLs. This, of course, WAS what Google was looking for when this site was built 3-4 years ago. Proper naming of the pages was a HUGE step. Now, Google, ostensibly to provide a better search experience, feels that this is NOT right and pages should NOT have optimized names. Rather there should not be OVER-OPTIMIZATION. You know what? This begs for it’s own post. Let’s get back to the whole local thing.

Google Local is a b*tch. Period.
I’m in a fairly powerful SEO mastermind group and this is the ONE thing that continues to vex everybody. If there is one question that I see regularly with NO good answer, “How do I get my company ranked in the local Google?” Nobody has an authoritative answer. Period.

What CAN you do to help OUT your local Google rankings?

  • Obviously have a quality site. Good content and the more the merrier, but not required. Some sites with only a few pages rank.
  • Social profiles to send out social signals that you are a healthy legitimate business. However, this is NOT required either.
  • Update your directory listings like YellowPages and other directory service listings. Triangle411 is a good local directory. Make sure they have the RIGHT address.
  • Obviously a Google+ listing for your business. This also requires a Google+ personal account.
    • Problems CAN ensue here. If, like me, you used to use the “Google Places” and you have companies listed there, Google is long on making sure your profile is updated and all that, but VERY SHORT on how to move that Google Places profile to Google+. As a matter of fact, here is their info blurb that has now been in place for months –

      Coming soon: An easier to use Google Places for Business
      We’re making Google Places for Business easier to use. You don’t have to do anything to get the new Google Places for Business, it’ll be automatically updated when available.

      Months later – maybe it has now been over a year that they’ve been showing this, we’re still here. So, in essence, since one only has 200 characters to describe their business in Google Places, all those “Johnny late to the parade” businesses – that have a whole Google+ PAGE with unlimited data abilities – have a leg up on ALL those people that followed Google’s guidelines originally. You’d think Google *might* take better care of the people that put their trust in them and followed their directions to begin with.

  • Finally, make sure your local schema listing is in place on your site.
    • If you only have one location, you can use this handy tool – Local Schema Generator
    • IF you have MORE than one location, use the code below and do it by hand! This comes courtesy of OddDogMedia.com.

So where does all this come into play for ME and why am I writing about it?

Lizardwebs is more or less home-based. We normally work on-site. After a couple years of keeping an office in a regular commercial location, we discovered that it actually created MORE headaches than it solved. Everyone would be out and a ticked off customer would call wanting to know why no one was in to talk to them. Yikes. Besides being expensive, we lost a lot of working time “shooting the breeze” with customers that wanted to discuss how they could get their 10 year old computer up to snuff to run Windows 7. Unfortunately, many didn’t seem to grasp the words, “It just won’t work.” We got tied up for hours in these conversations and that forced us to put OFF actually WORKING on computers that we COULD help. We like talking to people and all that and we met a LOT of great folks in our location, but all in all, it nearly crushed us due to lost productivity. So, back to home-based we went.

And now – which address to use? Or all that Google THINKS we want to use??

Since my sister at Sherry’s Signature Cheesecakes is STILL down there, I decided to use that as a drop-off location for all those customers that want to just drop off a computer. We pick it up from there and either return it directly (more effective usually) or drop it back at ye olde cheesecake shop for customer pickup. I left it in downtown Clayton on my website and on all my directory listings.

Now here’s the problem.

Google, with its infinite wisdom, has decided that my home address is actually the business address. While using the Raleigh address MAY be more beneficial to me, I’m not quite sure or ready to make that jump. Unfortunately, Google, again with that whole infinite wisdom thing, has decided that for me. Regardless of the markup (as above) on my website, despite my numerous directory listings (then again, try as I might, Yahoo has multiple addresses listed for me across the last 5 years that STILL remain despite numerous emails, modifications, deletions and more – and of course, all wrong but 1, errrr.. 2 maybe) with the Clayton NC address on it, Google has decided that I’m actually in Raleigh.

Now here’s the GOOD news

Since Google has decided that my business is located at my home address (in the 27610 zip code area OF Raleigh – smack dab in the middle between Clayton and Knightdale), I am now popping up in the Google local searches FOR Raleigh. And still on page 2 for organic. Nice. So, if Google seems to think that I should be here and it benefits me, perhaps it’s just time to go with the flow. Much as I love Clayton NC and being part of it with some really great associates there, a strong Raleigh listing DOES provide a lot more traffic than even a #1 ranking in Clayton. But I want people to know ABOUT the Clayton drop-off.

AND THERE WAS THE DILEMMA.

So, we’ll be implementing the code above today to see if we can get our drop-off location as well as the Raleigh listing in place. I guess if I had to go with one or the other, for sheer business sustenance alone, I’d need to go with the Raleigh listing, but let’s just see what happens! Keep your fingers crossed for me.